Summary: NCE began as an OEM in 1993, supplying hardware and software for the Wangrow SystemOne. NCE became a DCC manufacturer when Wangrow passed on the NCE Power House DCC system as the replacement for the SystemOne. Today NCE offers a variety of DCC Systems and accessories.
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|Device Types||Other, Booster, Command Station, Mobile Decoder, Power Supply, Stationary Decoder, Throttle|
NCE began manufacturing DCC Products on an OEM basis in 1993 and was originally known as North Coast Engineering. They provided the software component of Wangrow's SystemOne and RamFixx Technologies' RamTraxx DCC systems. The name was changed to NCE when it was incorporated in 1996. Today, NCE has to grown into a full-time electronic design and manufacturing firm devoted entirely to the development and sale of products for the control of model railroads.
The NCE Power House was intended to be marketed by Wangrow as the next generation SystemOne. Wangrow declined, so NCE decided since it was a finished, ready for production product, they would release it under their own brand. Wangrow subsequently went out of business when their licence for the command station software supplied by NCE expired. Wangrow failed to comprehend the difficulty and time requirements needed to create their own software.
NCE produces a full line of Digital Command Control products
- Power Pro
- Power Pro R (Radio)
- Power Pro 10
- Power Pro 10 R
- Five- and 10-Amp versions available.
- Walkaround capability
- Expansion: 63 devices (Additional cabs and accessory items). NCE calls anything on the throttle network a "cab".
- Interface: Serial Port, RS232. USB adaptor card is not recommended as some commands are not available over USB connections.
- Programming Track connections, Programming Track Booster recommended.
Entry Level Systems
- Power Cab
While the Power Cab looks a lot like a Power Pro (they use the same package for the throttle), it is a 1.5A Booster, Command Station and Throttle integrated into a handheld device. If you disconnect it from the layout, everything stops as the DCC track signal is generated in the handheld. Adding a Smart Booster eliminates that issue. The tight level of integration limits the available current for the track power bus. Some software features are also absent.
The Power Cab features Pro Cab compatibility when connected to NCE Pro Cab / Power Pro command station it functions as a throttle. A cable to enable this feature is included.
The interface to the layout is called the PCP or Pro Cab Panel. It has connections for the ProCab, DC Power, and the Rail A and B terminals to connect the track power bus. It also has jacks to enable expansion of the system via the Cab Bus. Only three additional UTP panels are supported. In addition, three additional cab bus devices are supported for a total of three throttles and three accessories.
Supports USB interfaces for computer control
- DCC Twin
This system features two throttles integrated into a single enclosure with the command station and a 3A booster. Limited programming options. Can also be used as a pair of throttles in another NCE system.
Power Pro compared to Power Cab
The Power Pro has additional features. While both units may look alike, there are some important differences:
- Computer interface: RS232, does not require a cab bus address to function, advanced features compared to other NCE systems
- Macro Capability Enhanced
- Accessory decoders last state is restored upon power up
- Control up to 250 locomotives
- Consisting: Up to 128 Advanced Consists possible, with additional consisting features.
- Pro Cab/Pro Cab R
- ProCab Deluxe
- Available singe throttle cab with radio and choice of rotary encoder or potentiometer. Four digit display. Can be used with YARD mode (center zero)
- Cab06r: Radio version
- A Pro Cab and a Power Cab look almost identical but they are two completely different products.
A Pro Cab is a Throttle only. It requires a DCC command station to function. It is a dumb terminal with a keypad and a display.
The Power Cab is a complete DCC system in one package. It is a Throttle, Command Station and Booster. All three in one (handheld) package.
- The Power Cab has a six-wire cable which connects it to the power supply, and also has wires which carry the digital DCC track signal and the throttle bus. This cable cannot be substituted with another. If you need a longer reach, the solution is to purchase a Cab06. They are available in tethered and wireless versions. The Power Cab must remain connected to the Power Cab Panel for the system to work.
- If you wish to run more than a few locomotives with your Power Cab, an SB5 booster may be required.
Each Cab must have its own unique cab address. Available cab addresses are based on the command station being used. Example: For a Power Cab system the available cab addresses are 3, 4, and 5. Addresses 8, 9, and 10 can be used for devices like the USB interface, AIU and Mini Panel.
- Power Pro System command station/booster
- Command Station Only for Power Pro
- SB5 Smart Booster
- Five-amp command station / booster for Power Cab system, up to six throttles. NCE radio compatible. Converts to booster only if needed.
See this page for firmware revisions applicable to their command stations.
NCE has used three product names in its manufacturing history.
- MASTER SERIES
- Power House
- Power Pro
- Five Amp
- 10 Amp Booster with Automatic Reverse. Recommended for large scales.
- Five Amp booster
- Replaced by the DB5 Booster
- Replaced by SB5 Smart Booster
The SB5 and DB5 are 5A units. They are current production as of 2017
Smart Booster Firmware
- Total number of Cabs supported is 6, Addresses 2-7.
- Supports three AUI, USB or Minipanels on addresses 8-10
- Improved USB functions
- Corrected issues with Dumb Booster modes
- Number of cab addresses available after reset corrected
- PB105. This model evolved into the DB and SB3 boosters. Available by special order only.
- PB110 10A booster, superseded by the PB110a
- PB205. Many PB205a boosters don't have the model's name marked on the front of the booster. Dual 5A boosters
- Main article: NCE/Circuit Protectors
AR10 10A Auto Reverser
|Discontinued Products, NCE|
|SWITCH-8||SWITCH-8 MK II|
- NCE FAQs
- NCE FAQ - NCE Frequently Asked Questions
- NCE Hints - Hints and tips for NCE products
- NCE Products - a more detailed list of NCE's offerings.
- Wangrow - Early DCC manufacturer which used NCE parts and software.
The NCE Power Cab can access functions above F9. It involves a few more button presses.
- F10 – F19
- Press and hold Shift
- While holding the shift key press 0
- The display will show F10 – F19
- To access a function in this range, subtract 10 from the function number and press the corresponding key. For F19, press 9.
- F10 – F12 can also be activated by pressing SHIFT and the related key at the bottom of the keypad.
- F20 – F28
- Press and hold Shift
- While holding the shift key press 0 twice.
- The display will show F20 – F28
- Pressing 5 activates F25 for example.
- Viewing Active Functions
- Press the EXPN key.
- Three rows will appear on the display indicating which range and the functions active in that range.
- PROG/ESC returns to the main screen.
Edit FAQ Related Articles: Function, Power Cab Videos, NCE Power Cab, NCE Power Cab Functions Not Working Related Manufacturer: NCE Categories: Throttle
- Main article: Cab Bus
The Cab Bus first appeared on the Wangrow SystemOne DCC system. It was designed by NCE to connect the command station to the throttle and booster. Also used on the RamTraxx DCC system.
PSI also licenced the Cab Bus for their Dynatrol Digital system.
NCE continued using the Cab Bus when it introduced the PowerHouse Pro system under its own brand.
When RailCom is enabled, older NCE decoders may operate erratically or with unexpected results. Disable RailCom to prevent these issues should they arise.
The NCE Power Pro system generates 12 bits for the preamble, not the minimum 14 required by the DCC standard. Early multifunction decoders made by NCE expected 12 preamble bits.
- Command stations made with RailCom on board cause the issue. Not all manufacturers1 support RailCom. Most older systems lack RailCom capability. See your manuals to learn if your system has RailCom, and how to disable it.
- A Modeller's Life podcast, Episode 198
- Fall 2022